tv Washington Week With Gwen Ifill PBS July 11, 2014 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT
gwen: the fight between the white house and congress grows bitter. the hostilities between israel and gaza grow deadlier. and a top u.s. spy is kicked out of germany. we explore the chasms and the possibilities for compromise on all three fronts. tonight on "washington week." >> not in murietta. not in murietta. >> no papers, no fear. our children stay here. gwen: the immigration debate. takes a fierce new turn. as house republicans prepare to sue the president. >> this is a problem of the president's own making. he's been president for 5 1/2 years. when is he going to take responsibility for something? >> you hear them, sue him. impeach him. really?
for what? you're going to sue me to -- for doing my job? gwen: tough talk from all sides. but is there any room left for compromise? the same question looms along israel's border with gaza. as rockets and bombs fly. >> no country on earth would remain passive in the face of hundreds of rockets fired on its cities. and israel is no exception. >> we call on the security council to act now to stop the bleeding in occupied palestine. gwen: can the u.s. broker a cease-fire? and nations spying on their allies. will old friends become new enemies? covering the week, he would he had of the -- ed o'keefe of "the washington post." fawn johnson of "national journal." indira lakshmanan of bloomberg news. and mark mazzetti of "the new york times." >> award-winning reporting and analysis, covering history as
it happens, live from our nation's capital, this is "washington week with gwen ifill." corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> we asked people a question -- how much money do you think you'll need when you retire? then we gave each person a ribbon to show how many years that amount might last. >> pull it a little further. >> got me to 70 years old. >> i would have to rethink this thing. >> it's hard to imagine how much we will need for a retirement that could last 30 years or more. maybe we need to appreciate things differently. if we want to be ready for a longer retirement. >> the future of surgery is within sight. our research is studying how real-time multimodality imaging during surgery can help precision and outcomes. brigham and women's hospital. it all starts here.
>> funding for "washington week" is also provided by the annenberg foundation, the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to pbs stations from viewers like you. thank you. once again, live from washington, moderator gwen ifill. gwen: good evening. on the surface this week, the fight was about immigration. whether unaccompanied minors should be allowed to cross the border illegally and then be allowed to stay until they work their way through the legal process. i spoke to white house domestic policy advisor cecilia munoz on the "newshour." >> we're approaching this as a -- urgent humanitarian situation. but it's also true that we have to make it clear to any parent who might be making the decision to put their child in the hands of trafficers and smugglers that this is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. and they should not do it based on the falspremthace they're guaranteed status in the united
states. because that's simply not true. gwen: the dispute quicklyly morphed into another version of the increasingly bitter recurring standoff between the president and congressional republicans. >> amnesty is unfolding before our very eyes. and i would suggest the only response that will stop this humanitarian disaster is for president obama to start enforcing the law. to stop promising amnesty, to stop refusing to enforce federal immigration law, and finally to secure the border. gwen: no one thinks the other side has their priorities right. and the bitterness quickly spread to discussion of old frictions including the president's use of executive action. but first, let's talk about the problem at hand. the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from central american countries surging across the border. before we get to the dispute, let's explain the law, though. fawn. >> the law. i think we need to be clear
about what law we're talking about. i think this is the place where you're starting to see some confusion in congress. the law that's actually causing all of the stop gaps and the bottlenecks at the border is anti-trafficking, human trafficking law that was passed in 2008, signed into law by president bush, and passed unanimous consent, all sides agreeing in the house and the senate. it did two things that have changed things at the border. the first thing that it did was it gave the department of health and human services full custody of children who are identified as not being with a parent pour other guardian when they cross the border who are essentially alien minors. and the other thing that it did is it required h.h.s. to look for a parent or guardian inside the country, to put these children with. so the idea was prior to the 2008 law, they were essentially trying to evaluate whether or not the child was an asylum candidate and put in foster
care and a number of advocates involved in these cases it would be much better if they were with their families. it takes some time to do that. there's been a massive influx of -- it's been growing, escalating, in a couple of years ago it was 10,000. last year it was 20,000. and now we're up to 40,000 already in this fiscal year of children who come from central america. gwen: and this was originally considered to be an anti-trafficking law. >> right. gwen: this was supposed to find some way to help children who were being victimized. by smugglers. >> the whole point is that if you are a child, you are entitled to special rights under the law. that if you -- if you are here and undocumented status, and you're a child, you can't be prosecuted like you would be if you're an adult. and the reason why the law has been in place for 20 years, it's been updated to try and reflect that each -- that all these children, they need some kind of help. there are calls to give them
legal representation which they don't have now. gwen: so now we have a crisis on our hands. here is the president's short-term stop guam solution. $3.7 billion to find some way to speak to fix this problem, to stop the surge of children across the border or is that what it would do? >> it would do a lot of things. you have nearly $2 billion would go to health and nume services to shelter and care for these immigrants. another $1.6 billion would go to the department of homeland security and justice for enforcement. to move border patrol down there to help with the influx. and to help begin processing this as quickly as possible. another $300 million interestingly would go to the state department to help guatemala, el salvador and honduras known as the northern triangle of central america or the north bay as they talk about it down there, help those countries repatriate these people. and also start an advertising campaign that says don't come. it's unsafe and it's illegal. that was dismissed today by the top appropriator in the house as too much money. they said that they will go -- gwen: too much money or the
wrong way? >> too much money and potentially spent the wrong way. they're reviewing what exactly should be done. house republicans are at least. they're going to put forth some policy proposals and potential solutions next week. once those are in place, the bean counters will sit there and try to figure out how much money is there. the other problem is republicans are saying some of this is not necessarily emergency funding that it's being done through the normal spending process. and so probably could be worked out that way. >> ed, backing up for a second, so the immigration problem is one that has existed for a long time. there have been children who have been trying to get over the border for a long time. what is creating this present crisis? and specifically in those countries you mentioned? >> sure. i talked to the guatemalan ambassador two weeks ago and asked him, are we characterizing this correctly? he said, well, look, you got basically three distinct problems down there. you have incredible gang violence in el salvador. if you live here in the washington area, there are gangs that are tied to salvadoran gangs.
and the violence there is such that these kids are just fleeing it because they're being either recruited into these gangs or trying to get away from them. in honduras one problem is the drug cartels. and suela the most dangerous city in the world in honduras. guatemala the mix of those two things and extreme poverty and illiteracy and a problem in all three countries. there's just des pair and hopelessness and might hear through the radio or through the tv that the united states is tinkering with its immigration laws and might hear somebody that i hear they're letting the kids stay legally, so they make a run for the border. gwen: but fawn, the political pushback is that these folks are manipulating a loophole in our system in order to take advantage. frankly to use these children as a shield to allow either their parents to come and stay, to do something to basically find another way across the border. >> and the real problem here is that there's actually des rrot in the 2008 law and not
written to be like this. when they wrote it a lot of the kids that they were apprehending from the border were from mexico and almost all of them were. and so the law specifically required secretary of state to work with the merks can government to figure out how to send these children back. so they actually -- we have an agreement in the united states with mexico with the child authorities there. and about 11,000 kids have had crossed the border from mexico of mexican descent that are almost immediately turned back around and turned to the child authorities there. the problem is that we don't have that -- those agreements with those other three countries, the triangle. and the law does not actually even require that we should do that. so it's almost like -- it really -- it kind of is a loophole even though no one wants to call it that. and no one intends it to be that way. >> as the information comes out about the dream act, and people hear about that and they think there is going to be an amnesty for young people who are here and they're going to get to go to school and everything, how
can you blame them from trying to escape the life on the streets and the gang violence and everything else? particularly if their parents, some of them are already over here and they're living almost as or fans? >> exactly. that's where you hear the republicans say he should enforce the laws that are on the books and not do this executive action thing. because that's what prompts people to send their kids. i talked to luis gutierrez this week who we talked to all the time about immigration and he said i met with some kids recently in chicago in my office who came only recently under the impression that that policy was going to apply to them. i had to tell them that no, you didn't get here in time and you're too late and have to go to home or find another way to stay here. >> it seems like everybody is between a rock and a hard place. politically and in policy. the president if he tries to change the law, there are people on the hill who will say, we don't care what you suggest. we are not going to give you anything you need. the money to sustain a failed policy someone put it. if fewer republicans and you have been hoping the immigration issue would kind of go away because it doesn't cut for you, they're also between -- we saw it with rick perry
this week. between a rock and a hard place about whether to get on board with some solution or to resist. how is that taking out? >> the thing i was most interested in was the day that the president's request dropped on capitol hill. i was talking to a bunch of republicans, in the senate and in the house. and in the house, the house republicans have a terrible relationship with barack obama. i don't need to tell you that. but they were -- they were literally rolling their eyes at me. they couldn't believe that it was -- they had thought it was going to be $2 billion and it was $3.7 billion and thought he didn't know what he was doing. and none of them this actually really seen it and i hadn't seen it all that much. but i think that -- what the administration is banking on is that the republicans in the house can't just reject it out of hand. because it looks like then they're ignoring a crisis. >> let me leave with you a glimmer of hope. in talking to senators john mccain and lindsay graham, leading republican members of that gang of eight we talked about last summer. gwen: in favor of immigration reform. >> the bill was passed. this crisis might potentially be our opening to really try to
tackle this. because if we fix border security, which is the republican request, and we use this as a way to do that, perhaps then we can start talking about all those other things we want to get done. >> one quick question. why did president obama when he was in texas and there on a fundraising trip, why did he not go down to the border and be seen with those children? we've got a humanitarian crisis, why not do it? >> well, logistically the white house planned these fundraisers months ago. weeks ago. so making a move to the border was potentially a big logistical nightmare and you did have some democrats in texas saying keep those law enforcement dealing with the situation. don't have him come. he dismissed it as a potential photo op in a week that he was having several photo ops and there's a belief and hope certainly on clill that he will go at some point. >> or the optics would have bad for him -- looked bad for him in that photo op. >> and whether he should go down there, i think he should. is if he goes and starts treating it thrike a big refugee crisis, that in turn could totally turn around the
message that he's trying to send which is don't come. we can't take care of you. gwen: and it also makes a lot of immigration advocates unhappen because they're not crazy about the enforcement part of this anyhow. and -- >> speaking of the images that are being seen in central america that he's now taking care of them. that might cause more of a flood. >> it could backfire. gwen: we're not done with that story but we're going to move on because in the middle east disputes usually move immediately past a mere rhetoric. three israeli teenagers were found murdered, air strikes in gaza ensued. as well as the retaliatory killing of a palestinian teenager. by tonight, the fight was a welter of air raids, rockets, interceptors and something called the iron dome. so what is the intent on both sides right now? tonight? >> well, the crisis at this point is really at a boiling stage. we've seen more than 100 deaths on the palestinian side. many of them are reported to be children, women, elderly people. so a lot of civilians in this.
we also see that hamas, from the gaza strip, is saying we're not backing down. in fact, we're going to continue rocketing. we're going to rocket ben guerin airport in tel aviv. which is really taking it up to the next level. not just hitting into the areas in southern israel where they had been aiming and targeting before. but hitting major cities. now, iron dome that you mentioned, this is -- a u.s.-funded missile defense program. effectively. which has been the reason that you have not seen israeli casualties yet. you have not seen israelis dead. because of the protection they have from the rockets through iron dome. gwen: and there have been a lot of palestinian casualties. >> more than 100 palestinian casualties and more than 1,000 palestinians who are now homeless. because of this. and, you know, the israelis, of course it goes back down to the seam argument we've seen 100 times. the israelis say the palestinians started it because hamas is rocketing us. and firing missiles at us. and nobody would stand for being rocketed in their homeland. and we have to defend ourselves. and the palestinians of course say well, let me say, i don't
want to equate the palestinians with hamas. this is hamas who is doing this and the palestinian authority and the moderate palestinians, i would say mainstream palestinians don't seem to be supporting this. and certainly the government of mahmoud abbas is not supporting this. but hamas and their -- gwen: not a government. so how do you negotiate? >> yeah, ok. that's a really good point. how do you negotiate? i thought it was very interesting, the white house yesterday read out a call that president obama had with bibi netanyahu of israel. one of the lines in there, you would have needed to have a semantics expert to really pars the line. and what they said was something along the lines the united states stands ready to facilitate the cessation of hostilities. ok? everyone jumped all over it. there was a huge twitter sphere and storm about this. and my goodness, is president obama recognizing hamas and is he going to talk to hamas? the white house had to come back and say no, we didn't say mediate. we said facilitate. and we didn't say that we were
going to get in there and make a cease-fire happen. but we're ready to do what we can to try to help then. and i think the larger question, though, is what can the u.s. do? to help the situation? >> you know, the u.s. has been trying to facilitate for decades the end of various hostilities in this, right? and more recently, john kerry has done the shuttle diplomacy to try to broker some kind of long peace deal. and the white house really wasn't all that enthusiastic, right? and so where is the white house now? do they -- do they think that this is just hopeless? and they will keep fighting and only after the fighting stops can there be any hope for some kind of deal? >> look, i think there's a lot of distress in washington. about what is going on over there. at the same time, though, remember, we're seeing a return to what we saw last two years ago. it was 2012 when we had a similar eight-day war between hamas and the israelis. and i heard a term from the israelis that is used which is called mowing the grass. and it sounds disturbing. but you hear israeli officials
say, well, every once in a while, maybe it's every two years we need to go in there and get rid of all those rockets. and remember, that hamas has a lot of underground tunnels. in gaza. right underneath civilian areas. in which they have got rocket workshops. they've got storage areas. and one of the game changers this time is that they now have larger range rockets. that they didn't have before. that are supposedly syrian made. iranian supplied. and the israelis want to take that out. so i think there's a lot of agita in the white house about this. and at the same time i'm not sure that they know what they can do as their influence has declined because the u.s. -brokered peace process fell apart just a couple months ago. >> let's play out what might happen on the weekend. if they start hitting tel aviv the airport and other parts of the city or even further into israel, are we look at a ground war? >> i think that if anyone in israel is killed, then i think we are looking at definitely ramping up. president shyamen pers has said
peres for a -- shimon has said prepare for a ground war. they have called up reserve scompifts only 1,500 of them have therein been called to duty. i'm not sure israel wants to take that step of going to a ground war because they would be exposing themselves to serious casualties. and i'm not sure that they want to go into gaza and reoccupy. but they may be want to put exclamation point on this. to say we can do it. if we want to. and we're going to try to knock out your storage facilities. i mean, another sort of mark vellian question -- machiavellian, conspiracy theorist, maybe thobes in the military wing of hamas who wanted this to happen. who used the revenge attack on the palestinian youth as an excuse for doing this. because actually they may be want to get out of this unity government. with the palestinian authority. because they're under pressure from islamic jihad. and other extremist factions. to not have a unity government.
gwen: ok. we'll have to move on and one more segment to get to. finally tonight angela merkel is not the happiest leader in the world right now. the problem is even after the u.s. and germany seemed to get past last year's disclosure, that the national security agency had been listening in on her phone calls, there's now fresh evidence that two more americans, at least, have been spying on her government. the white house says they're working things out behind the scenes. >> any differences that we have are most effectively resolved through established private channels. not through the media. gwen: but complaining publicly and expelled the c. he a. station chief in -- so diplomatic rellses between two old friends is serious again. how serious is this, mark? >> it's serious when you kick this c.i.a. station chief out of the country and germany, historically a very good intelligence-sharing relationship. the germans don't do it lightly. and as we heard today, they did it very publicly. and i think they wanted to
embarrass the obama administration. because they think in part they felt that the obama administration didn't really appreciate how angry and in a way hurt they are about this whole sort of escalation of spying operation. gwen: except the argument is all friends spy on each other. all nations do this. and that she's just being a baby about it. >> yes. that is the argument you hear. i think most countries do indeed spy on each other. i think though, the germans take -- not only offends because it's them. they feel this is very personal. that the cell phone issue became a big deal for merkel and also a political issue. she has to sort of stand up. to the idea that they can -- she can get pushed around by the white house. it's awe also this idea last year, the snowden revelations happened. you guys should have learned your lesson and this should not have mapped with what happened
last week with the german intelligence officer arrested. so something needed to be done. and so they made this move earlier in the week. in kicking the station chief out. and we'll see what happens. it was in a way symbolic. but it does show the level of anger. >> mark, what will we want to learn anyway from germany? i mean, why is this such a big deal in the sense that, you know, we would assume that -- is it worse that they got caught or that the spying was happening? gwen: isn't that always the question? >> always. >> always the question. >> german officials said that they share 80% to 90% of intelligence with the united states. and the united states may say, well, we're interested in the other 20% to 10%. but more seriously, you know, all countries have their own interests. and most countries -- with the exception of a small group of countries, the united states has a sort of adequacy agreement with brit -- quasiagreement with britain,
canada, and the feeling is those countries are not in line with the united states so you need to check out what their leaders might be saying to other leaders. there might be, you know, terrorist plots going on inside countries that the other country might not want to noich the united states -- notify the united states about. there's an argument for spying. however, there is a very good question about when it's -- comes to an ally, and you -- they clearly shown that they're angry about this, if you're going to do it, you better make sure that the benefits of it really outweigh the costs. and as we've seen today, the costs are high. >> let me ask you because angela merkel came off in this as everyone's sensible aunt. i thought she kind of clucked her tongue and said yesterday, common sense tells you, it's not worth it. to wait -- gwen: better things to do with your time. >> to spy on allies. and she said repeatedly if you want to know something, president obama, just call me up. you know my number. call me up and i'll tell you. we know -- gwen: because that's the way it works. you just call them up and they
tell you. >> you heard her finance minister saying this is so stupid it makes you want to cry. >> yeah. i think -- when we -- some of the details that have come out so far, make it seem like it's a very kind of low level operation that was not worth getting -- frage this relationship. there's a will the more to come out. but also particularly embarrassing where this german and spy that the united states tried to recruit then may have in the words of someone that they tried to take their talents to the russians. gwen: i knew were you going to get a lebron reference in there. >> so that then really blows up in the face of the united states. and that's -- another very embarrassing episode. gwen: and we're really out of time. i'm sorry. you had another question but that's what our webcast is for. we'll get back to this. because before we leave tonight, i need to send out condolences to the family of a great man. john seigenthaler. john was a tremendous journalist. he was a fierce defender of the first amendment. and he was a courtly son of tennessee.
who chnd civil rights long before most southern newspaper editors would. he was also a terrific story teller. a voracious reader and just fun to be around. he and his wife, adolors, were married as long as i've been alive. our thoughts are with her and the rest of the seigenthaler family tonight. john seigenthaler, the former editor of "the nashville tennessean" was 86 years old. i'll miss him. and if you knew him, you would, too. thanks, everyone. we have to go. for now. but as always, the conversation will continue online. the "washington week" webcast extra streams live at 8:30 p.m. eastern. plus you can find it all week long at pbs.org/washingtonweek. among other things, we'll be talking about a new gun crossley effort on capitol hill. keep up with daily developments with me and judy woodruff on "the pbs newshour" and we'll see you here next week on "washington week." good night.
>> corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> the future of surgery is within sight. our research is stud egg how real-time multimodality during surgery can help precision and outcomes. brigham and women's hospital. it all starts here. >> additional corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by prudential. additional funding is provided by the annenberg foundation, the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to pbs stations from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more.
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